Soles4Souls: A Pair of Shoes Can Change Your Life

Did you know that by giving just ONE dollar through soles4souls.com, you can give the gift of the possibility a job for a man or woman looking for work to support a family, or an education to a child to help elevate the next generation out of poverty. One dollar will purchase a pair of shoes that are so desperately needed to allow a person to look for work  or a child to attend school to have the possibility of an education. One dollar can make a life changing difference of hope or despair. Soles4souls offers not just shoes, but hope.

The brainchild of Wayne Elsey, born out of his desire to do something after the 2004 Tsunami Disaster in Southeast Asia, through donations of new and gently used shoes, and grass root fund raisers and shoe drives, Soles4Souls has provided shoes to over 17,000,000 people in over 127 countries. Using spokespeople with a passion for the cause and partnerships of corporations large and small, the word is spread to communities and cities throughout the world. The result? Educating people on how important a single pair of shoes are to a human being’s life and allowing them to show their understanding by the generosity of their giving.

Some facts taken from soles2souls.com:

  • Podoconiosis (a/k/a Mossy Foot) – A form of elephantiasis that results from volcanic minerals in soil coming into contact with bare skin. It is most prevalent in Africa and especially in the higher altitude regions in the eastern and central part of the continent In Ethiopia alone, 1 million people are estimated to be affected, while in Cameroon an additional 500,000 people are estimated to be affected. Stigmatization of people with podoconiosis is pronounced; patients being excluded from school, local meetings, churches and mosques, and barred from marriage with unaffected individuals
  • There are 2.2 billion children in the world, and 1 billion live in poverty. Soles4Souls estimate that 300 million of these children lack a pair of shoes.
  •  According to EPA statistics, Americans threw away approximately 790,000 tons of footwear and apparel in 2010.
  • Soil transmitted parasites – Hookworm, whipworm and roundworm afflict 740 million
    people a year, including 44 million pregnant women. Effects include low birth weights,
    malnutrition, and anemia
These are just a few results  to a person’s health that can occur when living a life without the benefit of shoes.
They have another program that allows them to reuse shoes not appropriate for disaster relief (i.e. high heels…) by reconditioning them and allowing them to be resold or bartered as a micro-enterprise business.  Their site says it also “provides a low cost source of shoes for the local population without undermining the local economy with a large supply of free shoes. Shoes are in high demand for micro-enterprise because they are universally needed and valued, can be easily bartered for other goods, and are a tangible commodity that is easy to transport and sell”.
The next time you are trying to figure out which pair of shoes will look best with that particular outfit and are taking pair after pair out, please remember that some people in this world would love to have just one of those pairs.

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